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Even though dental accidents can occur without warning, day or night, it helps to know in advance what you can do and whether it will require a trip to your dentist or the emergency room. The difference lies mainly in whether the emergency requires immediate attention or if it can wait until you can be seen by our team. At Roanoke Dental, Dr. David Jones and Dr. Priyanka Dutt would like to share some common oral emergencies which you and your family might incur, and how best to handle them. Being prepared can go a long way to feeling calm and confident should something ever arise.

To Wait or Not to Wait

A tooth can be injured while eating if you bite down on something hard or during a sporting event where you sustain a fall or trauma to the mouth. These types of injuries can cause a tooth to be cracked, broken, or even knocked out. You should get immediate help for the following: the crack in the tooth is large or deep, a chunk of the tooth is missing, the nerve within the tooth has been injured, or the tooth has fallen out. You will want to be seen by our dentist immediately, and if we are not open, your emergency room.

You may not need immediate attention if you are experiencing a toothache from an abscessed tooth, or if the tooth has chipped or has sustained a minor fracture from chewing. However, please call us as soon as possible and we can help you determine whether the emergency is immediate or can wait for the earliest appointment.

What to Do

If you lost a tooth, the goal is to keep it moist and to come in as soon as possible to save it. Rinse it gently with water if there is any debris, handling it only by the crown, never the roots. Next, keep the tooth in its socket if possible and hold it there by biting down on a damp piece of gauze. If you can’t do that, you can also preserve it in a milk or an ADA-approved tooth preservation container. If the socket continues to bleed while you are waiting, you can place a cooled, wet compress on the area.

Oral emergencies, while scary, can be handled calmly and effectively. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to give us a call at 540-685-0105 and we will be glad to help. Dr. David Jones and Dr. Priyanka Dutt, along with the rest of our team in Roanoke, Virginia, are here for you!